LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
DARYL L. OSBY
Ninth and Current Fire Chief
With an education in business and executive management and a progressive outlook towards the future, Fire Chief Daryl Osby strives to ensure the Department maintains its acclaimed reputation through continual sharing of best practices with fellow fire agencies. As head of one of the largest emergency service agencies in the world, he oversees the delivery of fire suppression and life safety services to the citizens of the County of Los Angeles and contract cities.<< READ MORE ABOUT CHIEF OSBY>>
P. MICHAEL FREEMAN
Eighth Fire Chief 1989 – 2011
Freeman was chief of emergency operations for the Dallas Fire Department, spending 24 years in Dallas, rising through the ranks from rookie firefighter, driver-engineer and station fire captain rising to second in command. Freeman was given to colorful, folksy terms when discussing firefighting tactics. During a 2007 wildfire in Malibu, Freeman used a football analogy to describe firefighters’ efforts to save homes; “To think that you’re not going to lose any structures with this kind of terrain and weather conditions is like thinking you can play football on a wet field and not get your pants dirty.”
PDF: Interview with Chief P. Michael Freeman & the US Fire Administration
Seventh Fire Chief 1983 – 1988
Englund had to fight the common budget battle due to property tax shortfalls. He was able to pay off all debt owned by the Department and place it on an all-cash basis for the first time in many years. He also ordered the first Bell 412 twin-engine helicopter and continued rapid increase in new ladder companies which had been initiated by Chief Bragdon before him.
CLYDE A. BRAGDON
Sixth Fire Chief 1977 – 1982
Over the weekend of October 5th, retired Los Angeles County Fire Chief Clyde A. Bragdon, Jr. passed away at the age of 90.
Several large brush fires and forest fires occured on a seemingly regular basis during Bragdon’s tenure. The Kanan, Pinecrest, Orange County, La Tuna, Stable and Dayton fires, all varied in size from 10,000 to 42,000 acres. This was about an intense a period of fire activity as had ever been observed at that time. After leaving the LACoFD, then-President Ronald Reagan nominated and swore Chief Bragdon in as Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration/FEMA in Washington, D.C.
RICHARD H. HOUTS
Fifth Los Angeles County Fire Chief 1969 – 1977
Division Chief Richard H. Houts was named new Chief Engineer – Forester and Fire Warden by the Board of Supervisors on July 10th, 1969. He stated that he was particularly proud of his part in the new field of Paramedicine: Los Angeles County established the paramedic program following the passage of The Wedsworth-Townsend Act in 1970. Other cities and states passed their own paramedic bills, leading to the formation of services across the nation, and several other countries also followed suit as paramedic units formed around the world. Houts retired in 1977 with 40 years of service.
KEITH E. KLINGER
Fourth Los Angeles County Fire Chief 1953-1968
After becoming chief in 1953, Klinger oversaw tremendous growth within the department, and became known nationally as a hard-driving, creative firefighter. Klinger is credited with pioneering the now-common practice of using helicopters to battle wildfires. He also oversaw the adoption of paramedic services into the Fire Department. Upon retirement in 1969, Klinger played a role in developing the 911 emergency system. He also was considered a national expert on brush fires
CECIL R. GEHR
Third Los Angeles County Fire Chief 1952-1953
Chief Gehr was highly respected by all. During his only year of service as Fire Chief, he became known for his ability to cause people to work together. The merger of the Forester and Fire Warden and Fish and Game with the newly-formed Consolidated Fire Protection District. While responding to an incident in his personal vehicle he was tragically killed in a traffic accident on July 14, 1953. This was as stunning loss for the Department, the fire service, and County residents.
Second County Forester, Fish & Game Warden and first County Fire Chief 1925 – 1952
Chief Turner served for twenty seven years. He was presented a solid gold badge with a blue-white diamond in the center to commensurate a position of such responsibility. in the years of Chief Turner’s reign, he brought the department into the modern age with his ideas and implementations.
STUART J. FLINTHAM
First head of Forester, Fire Warden & Fish and Game 1920 – 1925
Organized and permanent fire protection to serve the unincorporated territories of Los Angeles County came about with the appointment of County Forester Stuart J. Flintham as the County Fire Warden on July 1, 1920. Chief Flintham had served as County Forester since 1912. Not only did he now acquire an additional title but a new and challenging assignment. Formation of Fire Protection Districts began under Chief Flintham. Passed away in 1925 from an illness while still Chief.